An Interview with Club Manager Donald G. Trump!

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Reporter: what do you know about football?

 He: well, you know it’s a great game. Absolutely fine game. I have been involved with it for a while now. So far, I have won a number of national titles and some number of Muslim and Mexican hat(e) titles as the manager of the Republicans FC. Although I am a big fan of Democrats FC 😉 You know I don’t know much about them. Except they are the cause of every problem in this country since last 200 years.

Reporter: Wonderful…! how you achieved these milestones?!?

He: Well, it’s a little bit complicated. Although, I managed the team but I equally participated in the match too. You know as a player. To be honest, as every player. Literally every player. But let me tell you something. Everything needs struggle and hard work.  My record isn’t just a fact sheet. It is the result of many long hours of work and commitment with the game. Yeah, you got it right. It’s my passion. It’s my thing. Actually, the only thing I am doing these days. A lot. That’s how, you know. On a secret note between you and me; It helped me become the manager in the first place 😉

Reporter: Wow, amazing. That’s some real stuff there. But why have we not heard about you? You know, Republicans FC is a famous club. It’s strange to not know the most successful manager in the club’s history in that capacity?

He: Frankly, I am a shy young person. I avoid all the drama, being in the news, live on Facebook, all the fake stuff etc. I don’t do it. I don’t even do Instagram. I try to be at home, most of the time. Home is where I don’t care about anything else. And where I get these brilliant ideas.

Reporter: oh, we can see that now. What are your future plans being in the club?

He: Well, as I have told you I am a busy person. Actually, I have been very busy about my upcoming projects. Do you know I am competing for the manager of the President Club this November? A very old and I-don’t-know-her-name woman is my competitor. She has been the secretary of the club for some time. It’s a sad day for the President club and its fans. Woman? A woman is going to decide the future of the club and its fans? I really have no words to express how much it pains me, really 😦

Reporter: That’s some concerning comments. You have not answered our question yet sir, about the future?

He: oh, yes. Excuse me, I was really caught up with that tired old looking lady. So, I was telling you about my plans? Hmmm, what plans? There are no plans at all. Hahaha…..

Reporter: oh, but you seemed to have some plans, some really cool plans.

He: uhh, those plans. Yeah, you know they are some really great plans. It will remodel my new club and shine its fans. First, I will deport every immigrant fan out of the club fandom. You know, they create many problems. They are brown, lots of black and some mixed, God sake. No one wants to see them in the fandom. They are actually a burden on the white fans. They demand equal rights to watch and attend every game. To be a part of it. If we allow this, there will be no more room left for our very own fans. I will kick them out of the club and fandom. They don’t belong here. I will send them directly to Mexico.

Second, there’s this violent, radical, extremist group in our small fandom. Some call them Muslims. I won’t even give them a name. They are a real threat to the President Club and its fandom. They are a big problem. They are responsible for everything happening in the President’s fandom and everywhere in the league. They are violent and radical and God knows follows what evil preaching.  We can’t have a fresh breath without them. So, I am going to kick them out too.

Furthermore, I am going to stop importing footballs from China national team. They are hurting our local small business and thus the finances of our club and fandom. Our fans need some sincere efforts in this matter. I have got plans for that too. I am going to make the President club and the fandom great again. Yeah, mark my words. The plans are underway.

Reporter: cool. these are some horrible plans, I mean really, they are good plans. By the way, I forgot to ask your name. What was your good name sir?

He: Oh, it’s Trump, Republicans FC nominated and running for Manager of the President Club, Donald G. Trump. Did you see my last match with the secretary of the President Club and manager of the Democrats FC on TV?!?

Reporter: Oh, was that you? Yes, of course it was you. I watched like for the first 20 minutes. I wasn’t impressed. I mean it’s really an honor to meet you Mr. Trump.

Trump: Oh, yes, my pleasure. Any time please. You know what, if I became manager at the President Club, I am going to give you some really long cool interviews. And bonus: you can have a cup of coffee as well. You know what, I feel like you and I can make my plans really working. And together, we can make the club and fandom great again.

Reporter: ……………………………

Trump: Hey! Hello…..Hey! Where’s the reporter? He was just here. Hey……….!!!!!!!!! That idiot just stole my smart plans. Someone call the police…..Hey……..!!!!!!!

 

 

NOTE: I wrote this piece last year before the presidential election in the U.S. but never published it. I think it is never late to share some thoughts.

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Climate Change to Enviromental Care: Our Responsibilities

dsc_0631.jpgClimate change is real. Environmental changes are real. Just stop for a moment and think about the last time you have seen such a long rain drought in winter. A year, two or five……? As far as myself is concerned, I can’t recall such an event in recent past. It used to rain and winter in such days used to be freezing cold. Not so long ago, I remember in 2012, When we were notified by our school to start wearing winter uniform. By November, it had already rained. By December, cold would freeze our flesh and bones. But no, not anymore.

So, what’s happening? The answer is simple. We are not doing good to our environment. We are putting everything, well, say every-bad-thing we can, into the ground, air and water that constitute our surrounding environment. From a piece of non-recyclable plastic to tons of industrial waste, from a puff of smoking cigarette to massive hazardous gases, we are doing everything possible to make this planet unlivable. This change in environment changes climate which in turn, changes the weather, we complain about all the time.

How does it affect us? I can but will not give examples of increased global temperatures and reports of glaciers melting. Let’s see its outcomes on a very basic individual level. Diseases are spreading. Dry cough is common. Dry skin is a widely spread dermatologic issue. Inhalation of hazardous air is causing internal body complications. Our immune systems have been so weakened that we cannot even bear a simple headache. Every day, when I pass by local hospitals to get to university, a huge mass of people is going in and out of the hospitals. Talk to some of them and they will tell you stories of fog, smoke, smog and dirt causing serious health issues. Farmers in villages who are heavily dependent on rain water to cultivate are worried and honestly, devastated by the absence of rains. Cropping season is almost over. I have recently been to my village and had discussions with many farmers. They fear that their families will suffer and God forbid, may face hunger. Because employment in rural areas is mainly in the agriculture sector, these people doesn’t have any other means of earning livelihood. Not only them but local markets and economy will suffer from this as well. Remember, these are only few of the many examples.

So, how do we fight it? Again, it’s very simple. All of us need to make ourselves and others aware of these anomalies. We need to start caring about our environment. If not the whole country or city, then small town or a village, or at least our living and working places. We need to stop putting waste into our surroundings. we need to start thinking about recyclable consumption. Most importantly, it’s not a single person’s job. A person or two can sure make a difference but we need more than that. It’s our collective responsibility. We can prevent these drastic changes by acting together. The sooner we realize it the better off we will be.

On January 5th, 2017, under the flag of Social Development Network, we launched the “Garbage Clean-Up to Environmental Care” campaign. This campaign was an initiative to not only aware but practically involve public in collecting garbage. About 70 volunteers participated in this drive, all of them being young students of Islamia College Peshawar. This event was very interactive because not only the volunteers collected waste but also had fruitful discussions with local people about environmental care. Through this campaign, the volunteers cleaned-up waste from the University Campus Peshawar including Islamia College, Khyber Medical College, University of Engineering and Technology and the University of Peshawar. The event ended with a peaceful walk through the university campus back to Islamia College Peshawar.

Youth Activism and Rickshaw Wala

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As soon as I got off the coach, a rickshaw wala showed up and offered his services. We agreed on 120 rupees fare to my destination. On our way, the Rickshaw wala asked me if I returned from abroad.

“No, I am returning from Islamabad.”

He looked confused as he stared at my suit and luggage. I quickly got to his thoughts and smiled;

“Well, there was a conference in Islamabad. I attended that. Now I am heading back home”.

Rickshaw wala: “May I ask what kind of conference it was?”

Me: “of course! It was on Youth Activism. Where we had different sessions and speakers to discuss the role of youth in various fields of life. About 200 local and international alumni’s participated in the event”

As he was not educated and literate, many things I said were new for him. For example, he didn’t know Youth Activism. So, I had to translate it to make him understand. That moment I realized how easy it is to sit, discuss, and talk in English for hours with educated people but very difficult to explain the same thing to a layman.

Me: “Youth Activism is basically youth engaging themselves in productive activities to benefit themselves and society. For instance, we learned the use of social media such as Facebook to aware masses. We can share stories, make networks, communicate to explore, identify problems, and offer solutions to those problems.” I gave few examples.

Rickshaw Wala: “nice. Is that all you did in the conference?”

Me: “No! It was just single example. We did many things besides sessions. We practically got engaged in community service. Some of us went for tree plantation. Another group went to the Pakistan monument and collected litter and waste there. One group played a match with school children. Yet another group did a theatrical session with kids with disabilities. While our group attended a project on women empowerment. We got to meet and hear stories of three girls who were victims of acid attack. It was painful. You’d be sad to know their stories as they were punished for something they never did or very minor mistakes one commits every day. Their lives and the people around were destroyed”

He sighed; “Indeed it’s painful. But what can you guys do for it?”

Me: “We can do many things. We will work with organizations which are fighting this evil. We can aware public and tell them what’s wrong and how important every life is. The government can be pursued to take strict actions against it. As for the kids with disabilities, we will find some shelter homes. We can volunteer there to play with them, cheer them up or take some time to school them.”

As I went on explaining, he seemed to be getting my point. A simple person as he was, simpler were his questions.

Rickshaw wala: “So where do you work, I mean job?”

I could see the expressions on his face when I told him I was a student at Islamia College Peshawar and that most of the attendees were students as well. He was literally stunned.

Rickshaw wala: “oh! If you are a student then who is going to pay you?”

“No one….,” I smiled.

Rickshaw wala: “Then how are you going to do it, and why?”

Me: “As I told you we will work in our individual capacity or with some organizations on voluntary basis. I have worked with couple of organizations for the same cause before. As for why? Don’t you think someone has to do something for the society, for people like you too? Don’t you think we owe you people as well? To make our homes and then make yours too. Shouldn’t we use our knowledge and skills for the common good? Hmm?” I smiled again.

If only I knew how to describe excitement, happiness and hope at the same time, I would die to do so. His innocent, common and short-bearded face suddenly lit up. I had no intentions but I felt I touched his heart.

He could only utter, “Yes, Yes….” with appreciation in his bright eyes.

It took him a while to think over the discussion and compose himself. The next question he asked was somehow hard for me.

Rickshaw wala: “Who organized this event?”

Me: “It was organized by the U.S. Embassy and PUAN. PUAN is an organization of the students, teachers and professionals who went to the United States on scholarship programs.”

He suddenly looked suspicious.

Rickshaw wala: “So you have been to USA too, right? Why do they send you guys?”

I never claimed that I am a mind reader, but this one was obvious. I understood his flow. I think a smiley face can help you a lot in many stressed and complicated situations, as it helped me there.

Me: “Yes, I did. For four months. Have you seen any foreign student in the university campus? There are many international students from Asia, Africa and Middle East studying in the Universities of Peshawar. They are on scholarships from the government of Pakistan. Same goes for us. We went there to study, explore and understand American culture. For example, I had this misconception that Americans are very rude. But you’ll not believe me if I tell you how kind they are”

Our conversation turned to my experiences in the U.S. He was astonished to hear that my friends in the USA reached out to me after the Lahore incident and that they extended their condolences and sympathies. He found it hard to believe that one can sue a restaurant in court if they refuse to give you or provide incorrect information about the ingredients. Thus we talked about lifestyle, education and economy to the best of my knowledge and his understanding. He had the same stereotypes as most Pakistanis. Belonging to a low income family, he was specifically interested in the labor market, employment and wages.

Meanwhile we reached our destination; my home. So we had to stop and finish our discussion. I invited him in for a cup of tea but some other people called him for a ride. I paid the fare, thanked him and walked to my house.

Oh! His name was Sadeeq…….Sadeeq ur Rahman!!!

 

International Youth Activism Conference was held in Islamabad (April 7-10, 2016). The event was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, Islamabad and organized by Pak-US Alumni Network. About 200 local and international USG alumni from Pakistan, Nepal, Srilanka and Bangladesh participated in the conference. 

15 Seconds: A Story of a Million

Me:     Why don’t you go to school?
He:      I have to work and run this shop.
Me:     But education is very important.
He:      I know, but I can’t.
Me:     Why?
He:      We left our home. And we are here now.
Me:     So did I.
He:      Yes, but you left yours for education and we did because we couldn’t live there anymore. We were forced to leave our home and everything else with it.
Me: I am sorry.
He: It’s okay.
Me: But I think education is……
He: (Smiles……..)

A story, of an internally displaced boy due to war against terrorism…..

USA: My First Days….My First Impression

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Only dreamers can feel the joy when their dreams come true. When our plane touched the Dulles International Airport, Washington D.C. after a tiresome twenty hours flight, only I knew what I felt and what it meant for me. My heart was filled with such elation and happiness that is hard to express. From the time I got into my high school, my classmates would talk about their dream places for higher education. They would choose Australia, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan etc. But I always chose one place, thought about only one country; the United States of America. And why only the USA? There are so many different answers to this question. But one simple answer that explains everything is, ‘‘It is the land of opportunities.’’

It is a long story how I made it to the USA and I will not go into the details. But of course, I am thankful to the United States Department of State, International Research and Exchanges Board and the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan. All of these agencies played a vital role in making my dream a reality. The first few days of our one semester program were supposed to be in the National 4H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, which is about half an hour drive from Washington D.C. The IREX staff received us at the airport and escorted us to the NH Center. I attended a 4-day welcome workshop there, where we had a couple of sessions each day to discuss our program goals and requirements. The very first four days of my stay in the USA were memorable because it introduced me to a very different culture and society. Personally, I am a shy person but this first encounter made me bolder than my expectations. I started feeling comfortable in interacting with people from different backgrounds. The IREX staff was very helping and kind. They took care of very small things. Although we were not allowed to go out of the NH Center, yet they did provide us a variety of activities in and off the sessions that entertained us during our stay there.

There are few things that I would like to talk about in this article. This was my first impression of the United States. It’s a cliché that first impression is the last impression and it was very true in my case. I did learn certain things that helped me a lot in days to come. First and the most important thing was the value of time. I was astonished to see how punctual people are. Every single thing was on schedule. Of all the sessions we attended, everything was perfectly timed. This made me think about my society where very few people take care of time. I have been to so many events, and most of them had this issue. I met many officials, both low and upper level, I was not able to meet them on time. Perhaps, this is the one big reason why the American society is stronger and developed as compared to other societies in the world. Second thing that I observed was the greenery and cleanliness. Like most of the Pakistanis, I also thought that the United States has only big and high buildings everywhere and that’s all. There may not be any greenery around. But it was different. What I saw was small and medium sized houses with lots of trees near them and on the road sides. Funny thing is that, in four days we spent there, I did not have to clean my shoes. Thanks to the clean environment.

On the third day of our stay, there was an interesting session about the cultural differences, cultural shocks, and cultural adaptations. The speaker for the session was MS. Deborah Hefferon, a consultant and expert on Cross-Cultural Communication and International Education. She discussed the cultural differences that exist in both of the societies, cultural shocks that we would feel, how could they affect us, how could we adopt to new environment and how could we make our stay comfortable in our host community. Her way of conveying message was different, interesting and very effective. She started with a picture and asked us to identify whether it was a young girl or an old woman. We could see both. So some of us identified it as a young girl while others as an old woman. Then Deborah explained it to us that the difference in our answers was because we viewed it from different angles and sides. That’s why it looked different to different people. Then she asked whether it meant that the ones who saw a young girl were wrong while those who perceived an old woman were right. As a matter of fact no one was wrong. All were right. The only difference was in the viewing angle that resulted in difference of opinions. That is what we would experience in the United States. People would have different ideas, opinions, and ways of thinking, eating, dressing, and behaving than those of ours. It does not mean that they are superior, inferior, good, or bad. Not a single culture is superior or inferior. Cultures are simply different and difference is to be cherished; she explained. Whole session went that way. And honestly it changed the way I looked at and perceived things. It made me able to live and interact in a society that was different, diverse, and unknown to me. Of all the other things that I will be carrying back to my country with myself, it would be one of them; I decided.

On the final day of our stay in NH Center, the IREX staff took us to ‘‘The White House’’, ‘‘Washington Monument’’, ‘‘the Islamic Center in Washington’’, and to the ‘‘Bamian’’; an Afghani restaurant later on. I got to see the place where the most powerful person of the United States lives and where most of the policies for the United States and the rest of the world are made. I felt strong and powerful. Undoubtedly, The White House was beautiful. Studying the history of the Islamic center was another thing that cleared some of the misconceptions I had. The Islamic center was a big and beautiful building where members of the Muslim community would come and establish their prayers. Previously, I thought Muslims were not that free to practice Islam. But seeing such a big mosque in the center of Washington D.C. proved me wrong.

It would not be fair if I go on without mentioning the restaurant. For the first time in four days, I got to eat Pakistani food. I ate rice, chicken, mutton, kheer and everything I could grab. That literally made my day. Food was the only problem in the NH Center. And I had to appreciate IREX once again. They tried their best to make us feel better. There is one touchy moment I would like to include here. During our visit, both of our advisers were taking extra care of everyone in the group so that we do not get lost. I asked Karen, one of the program officer at IREX that why was she so careful. I told her that she did not have to worry that much as we were mature and old enough. Her reply was amazing; “When you grow up and become a parent one day, you will know better then. Your parents have trusted us. That’s why they have given you into our hands. We cannot break their trust. We cannot let anything happen to you guys. If something happens, they will kill us.” she smiled. I felt safe and relieved.

With so many good memories and lessons I, along with few of my other fellow Ugradians, left for my final destination Grand Forks; North Dakota, next morning where a new chapter of my life was waiting for me. Grand Forks was different than Washington D.C. It was a small city with a population of around 55,000 people and with agriculture and oil as its main resources. There we had to spend one whole semester. We had to study, complete our program requirements, engage with people, share and learn a lot. Oh yes, there was a bad news too. There were some scary stories about the winter in GF. The average temperature in Grand Forks would reach negative 20-25 degree Celsius. And we were supposed to live there for four months. At first, I thought I am not going to survive there but the next moment I was excited and ready for the new adventure……

 

PM Laptop Scheme aur Mein

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Koi umeed barr nahi aati,
Koi surat nazar nahi aati….

Laptop ka ik din mua’yen hai,
Phir neend q raat bhar nahi aati….?

Aagey aati thi har khabar py hassi,
Ab tuu merit lagny par bhi nahi aati….

Jaanta hoon sawab e sabar o shukar,
Par sahib, ab tabiyat udhar nahi aati….

Hai kuch aisi baat ju bol raha hoon,
Warna kiya ignoring mujhy karni nahi aati….?

Ye laptop wahn hay, jahan sy PM ko bhi,
Shayed enki koi khabar nahi aati….

Kitna wait karu gy aakhir Mohsin,
Sharam tum ko magr nahi aati….!!!